Resorts Post Records, Extend Seasons, Host Rail Jams
SAM Magazine-Aspen, Colo., May 19, 2011-The Aspen Skiing Company today became the latest in a long line of areas to extend the season. And as with some other areas, Aspen is reopening after being closed for weeks.
Aspen Mountain will reopen for May 28-30, and for additional weekends as conditions permit. The decision comes on the heels of record snowfall for the mountain.
"We haven't had summer conditions this good since 2008," quips Rich Burkley, vice president mountain operations. "We figure that if we open for skiing, maybe it will quit snowing. We encourage everyone to go up and make a few turns, then jump on your bike, hit the trails or swing the golf club. It's certainly a unique opportunity to enjoy everything the valley has to offer."
Heavy spring snowfall and cool temperatures have been the norm in the Colorado Rockies this spring, and Aspen is reporting a base depth of 71 inches at the summit. Spring skiing operations will feature 25 runs on 136 acres of mostly intermediate terrain, served by the Ajax Express chairlift. In addition, Aspen Powder Tours will also run powder and corn skiing tours on the back of Aspen Mountain.
Also in Colorado, Arapahoe Basin, a mountain where July 4th closing days are not unheard of, announced that the ski area will extend the season. The mountain was scheduled to end operations on June 6, but will now continue weekend-only operations through at least June 19-and possibly until July 4. Currently the Arapahoe Basin is reporting a base of 96 inches at mid-mountain, with 8 inches new in the past 24 hours.
In Utah, Snowbird continues the mountain's tradition of long winters. The season will extend season past the traditional Memorial weekend; with year to date snowfall of more than 740 inches and a mid-mountain base of 181, this season could last until July 4.
And the long seasons and reopenings aren't limited to the Rockies.
In the Lake Tahoe area, Alpine Meadows is the latest resort to declare the season isn't over yet. The resort plans to reopen July 2-4. In addition to the freedom to make turns, guest can tap into a variety of parties and Independence Day celebrations.
"Skiing on the 4th of July holiday weekend is the ultimate way to celebrate Independence Day," says Kent Hoopingarner, general manager of Alpine Meadows Ski Resort. The area received more than 71 feet of snow this winter.
Farther north, Crystal Mountain, Wash., remains open, with operations running on weekends through May 30. The ski area currently has a base of 99-146 inches after a winter that saw more than 580 inches fall on the resort.
Crystal is joined by Pacific Northwest resorts Timberline (three lifts running daily through the end of May based on weather and snow conditions, with the resort's traditional summer ski season beginning May 31), and Canadian resort Blackcomb, which is open daily to Monday, May 30.
The action is also taking place in some unlikely places. Stratton Mountain Resort is hosting the Second Annual Mountain Mayhem Rail and Jump Jam on Sunday, May 29. The base area event wraps up the skiing and riding at the mountain, which shuttered its lifts earlier in the year.
Memorial Day jams are becoming a trend in the region, with Mount Snow hosting the Peace Pipe Jam, a four-year-old event that's free for participants, on May 28; and New York resort Windham Mountain hosting the Endless Winter Rail Jam the same day.